PRACTITIONER, PRESIDENT, AND PARTNER PERSPECTIVES
Kay McClenney, Senior Advisor to the President & CEO, AACC, Pathways Partner; Tom Bailey, Director, Community College Research Center, Pathways Partner; Anne Kress, President, Monroe Community College, Pathways College; Michael Baston, President, Rockland Community College, Pathways Coach; Byron McClenney, Consultant to the President & CEO, AACC, Pathways Partner; Gretchen Schmidt, Executive Director, AACC Pathways Project, Pathways Partner (posted 4/5/2018)
(1) First of all, there’s a whole segment of activity that is about creating the essential conditions for substantial institutional change. And those conditions include a number of things, but preeminent among them are leadership for institutional change and also the institutional commitments that are requisite.
(2) In a lot of ways our model of reform has stood in the way of the type of really fundamental change that we think is necessary. So we have to move beyond that paradigm. We have to move beyond the idea that we’re going to have a little pilot project. We have to talk about reforming the entire college. And I think that means we need to pay much more attention to the issues of faculty engagement at a broader level.
(3) Well, we often talk about institutional leadership, and we think it’s a single person. But there’s leadership at every single level at every single college. And what you want to do is to find the individuals who have a strong belief in the model that we’re working on. And then, again, elevate them, lift them, and encourage them to take on those leadership roles. Structured pathways, guided pathways, aren’t going to work if it’s just the provost or just a dean. You need faculty who believe in those. And I think every institutional culture that’s successful does a really good job of making sure that people see that leadership, that leadership is recognized in formal and informal ways, and that it’s validated and valued.
(4) We need to be thinking from an equitable perspective in this work. How students are really introduced to academic programs that actually bring them into a living wage, a life-sustaining wage. If you have students in poverty, helping them to get in academic programs that are going to keep them in poverty is not a benefit to those students. We have to be very thoughtful about how we encourage students to think about the kinds of academic programs, based on their interest and based on their backgrounds, that will enable them to be in life-sustaining, family-sustaining wage opportunities long term.
(5) We’ve been driven for decades by the idea of we’re all about access, and now, all of a sudden, we’re talking about success in a way that we’ve never talked about it before. In getting from access to success, we don’t give up on access, but we realize that we’ve gotta change a lot about what we do to produce success.
(6) I think the largest shift in culture that we have seen from this project is that colleges are moving from the idea of “Are students college ready?” to “Are the institutions student ready?” And that the resources and the structures that they are developing and putting in place are very much focused on the student-facing lens.
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